Employers step up to the plate for veterans at Turner Field

Almost everyone agrees that the men and women in uniform deserve our support while they’re serving in the U.S. military. But what about when those folks are transitioning from the military to a civilian life?

The people at RecruitMilitary LLC, want to help. The Cincinnati-based organization – along with The American Legion, Purple Heart Services and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network – is producing the RecruitMilitary Opportunity Expo, which will be at Atlanta’s Turner Field on Feb. 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The free event is an opportunity for military veterans and their spouses to interview and network with more than 30 veteran-friendly employers and educational institutions. Among those scheduled to attend the expo are Accenture, AutoNation, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Columbia Southern University, Combined Insurance, DeVry University, First Command Financial Services, The Geo Group, Grand Canyon University, Homeland Security Solutions, HouseMaster …

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Looking for a labor of love?

Working at a job you love and making a good living at the same time is the ideal employment situation. The reality, however, is often something else, particularly in today’s job market. Many people work at their jobs simply because they got hired, stayed employed and are earning a steady paycheck.

Some fortunate few are already working in their dream jobs. Others – such as nurses, teachers, soldiers and clergy – have answered a calling to do something they believe in.

Then there are those who volunteer in their spare time to support a worthy cause. They work at animal shelters, community centers, retirement homes, homeless shelters or arts organizations. They also volunteer as youth athletic coaches, Scout leaders, language teachers or mentors.

If money wasn’t an issue, what would you do as a labor of love? What job would fulfill you just because you want to do it?

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Should Packers tie have cost car salesman his job?

Sports rivalries can be a fun way for co-workers to talk smack and engage in friendly banter in the workplace. That is, unless you’re taking about the NFL’s oldest and most-heated rivalry: the feud between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.

Car salesman John Stone found that out the hard way. According to the Associated Press, Stone, who works in an auto dealership in Oak Lawn, Ill., wore a Packers tie to work on Monday to celebrate the team’s 21-14 win over the Bears in the NFC title game.

That didn’t sit well with his boss, Jerry Roberts, who asked Stone five times to remove the tie. When Stone refused, Roberts fired him. Roberts defended his actions, saying that Webb Chevrolet did promotions with the Chicago team and that a salesman wearing a Packers tie would anger customers deep in Bears country.

Should Stone have been fired? Was Roberts justified in his actions? Should Stone have simply taken off the tie? What do you think?

- By John Brieske, Blog …

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Who works when it snows?

Not only did the recent Deep Freeze, Snow Jam — or whatever you want to call the latest winter storm — paralyze metro Atlanta, it also reminded us which workers are truly essential. While many folks spent several days at home trapped by the winter wonderland, some workers were on the job, as always. Some even worked overtime to pick up the slack for the rest of us.

Almost everyone thinks their job is important, but there are some occupations where missing work isn’t an option. Some of those folks are obvious; cops, nurses, EMTs, firefighters and other emergency workers have no choice. But there were other workers who braved the weather and worked all week, including meteorologists, road crew workers, tow truck operators and Waffle House waitresses, among others.

Did you make it to work all five days last week? Did seeing someone doing their job despite last week’s weather impress you? Tell us about it.

In the name of full disclosure, I confess that I worked from home …

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Was ESPN right to fire Ron Franklin?

The environment at work has certainly changed during the last few decades. The combination of more working women, an emphasis on office diversity and increasingly proactive HR departments has lessened the locker-room atmosphere that was once so prevalent in many workplaces.

In fact, what used to pass for good-natured banter has become cause for discipline and even firing. Discussing sex, religion and politics, or telling off-color jokes are often frowned upon at work.

Earlier this week, ESPN fired longtime announcer Ron Franklin after he called sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards “sweet baby” and used a derogatory term after she objected to his behavior. Although ESPN initially pulled Franklin from radio coverage of the Fiesta Bowl, “Based on what occurred last Friday, we have ended our relationship with him,” network spokesman Mike Soltys said Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

While many people agree that today’s workplace environments are a great …

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What do you do on an ice-day holiday?

Driving in metro Atlanta is dangerous enough when the weather is clear and the roads are dry. Add ice or snow to the mix and the streets turn into a demolition derby disaster.

But wintry weather can have an upside. Some people take an ice day off, and nothing beats a well-timed break from work or school. Sadly, newspaper employees aren’t that lucky.

Because we at The AJC are required to work through rain, sleet, snow and natural disasters, please indulge us with stories about what you do when you get a snow or ice day off. What’s the best way to spend a surprise day off from work or school? Warming by the fire or maybe catching up on the latest season of “Mad Men?” Tell us about it.

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Gag gift exchange can bring holiday cheer to work

This is the time of year when many of us are trudging through stores and searching online for the perfect holiday presents for the folks on our gift lists. Despite the best intentions of getting an early start on buying jewelry for that special lady or the year’s hottest toy for little Johnny, holiday shopping can turn into a frantic, stress-filled race to get it done in time.

One of the season’s fun gift traditions, however, is a White Elephant gift exchange at work. White Elephant gift exchanges, sometimes known as Yankee Swaps, involve bringing an inexpensive, wrapped present that often is a gag gift or something used.

Based on a numbering system, the first participant opens his or her gift and shows it to the group. A second player gets an unopened gift and chooses to either unwrap it or swap it for the first person’s present. The exchange follows that pattern until all the gifts are opened. The game can have some variations but the idea is the same; lots of laughs …

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‘Tis the season for health care enrollment

Every year, the last half of November begins a season of holiday anticipation. Thoughts of turkey dinners, family gatherings and holiday shopping fill the heads of folks everywhere. A less pleasant task, however, is filling out your annual enrollment packet for work-based insurance benefits.

With changes due to new health care legislation, this year was even more important than most for many workers. Provisions affecting preventive care coverage, lifetime caps, flexible spending accounts, coverage of adult children and pre-existing conditions were just a few of the changes employees had to consider before making choices for 2011.

How did the process go for you this year? Did you do more research before filling out your enrollment packet? Was there any confusion? Did your costs go up? How much? Tell us about it.

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A part-time job for the holidays: Will you have one?

You can add seasonal job to the list of many people’s holiday traditions these days. Malls, large retail stores and shipping companies are typically atop the list of best places to find part-time holiday work. Unfortunately, if you were hoping to pick up a second job this year, you may be out of luck as many businesses have already completed their hiring.

The good news is that holiday temp hiring is up this year, if only slightly, compared to 2009. One forecast predicted up to 650,000 additional retail jobs for the holidays. Toys R Us alone was expected to add about 45,000 seasonal workers this year, according to a September report.

Have you ever worked part time during the holidays? What was your experience like? Do you have a holiday job lined up this year?

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Age limits on trick-or-treating: Scary or smart?

First, in recognition of those holiday decorations I saw at a store last weekend, here’s a quick shout-out to retailers who resist the urge to begin selling Christmas before Nov. 1. I know, I know, it’s a marketing thing and maybe even good for business when tree lights and candy corn share the same shelf. But great ghouls, people, I’m still in Halloween mode here. I love watching George Bailey rediscover the meaning of life and Ralphie pound the snot out of Scut Farkus as much as anyone, but let’s enjoy the Snooki “pouf” wigs while we can, yes? And a tip of the Lady Gaga meat cap to any radio station not playing “Jingle Bell Rock” before November.

Veering back to the real topic now, I’d love to hear some opinions on this too-old-to-trick-or-treat discussion that’s been going on. In case you missed it, several cities throughout the country have established laws designed to keep those pesky 13-year-olds off your doorstep on Halloween night. Believe it or …

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